I know the experts say it’s okay for the kids to be bored, and while I agree, I have to think the experts would tell us we are living in strange times right now. Most of us will be house-bound for the next several weeks because of COVID-19. Even when it’s safe to start going out of the house more frequently, schools, extracurricular sports and events, and group gatherings will remain postponed or canceled. Whether it’s you who is bored or you have kids who are driving you bonkers while they make mischief and sling complaints, here is a list of 65 activities you can do while practicing social distancing.
You can also choose to socially distance yourself from family members while trying out some of the boredom busters.
Yup, the guy who brought us Piggie and Gerald, Knuffle Bunny, and Pigeon invites us to draw with him. New episodes will be posted every weekday at 1:00 EST.
If you don’t have coloring books floating around, print some sheets, or draw something and let the kids color it in. (Or laugh at your lack of art skills.)
Set up a still life, draw each other, or just see what the imagination produces.
4. Crank up the music and have a dance party.
5. Learn a new dance move or make up a new dance routine each day.
6. Invent a non-touching secret handshake.
7. Do a craft.
Good Housekeeping has 50 craft ideas to do with your kids if you are up for that kind of “fun.”
8. Binge watch Netflix, Disney+, Hulu.
Most places offer free trial periods, so even if you don’t pay for a subscription, you can access content for a limited time.
9. Take a virtual tour of a museum.
10. Watch live streams from zoos.
11. Create a scavenger hunt with clues.
12. Have kids create scavenger hunts for each other, or for you.
13. Hide an object or objects in the house and have kids find them.
I taped ten paper snitches throughout the house for my nine-year-old’s Harry Potter birthday party and the kids loved it so much they did it three times.
14. Start a TikTok channel with your tween or teen.
15. Wash your hands.
16. Art For Kids Hub.
This is affectionately called ArtHub in our house. My kids love these guided art lessons which are done with creator Rob and his kids.
17. Listen to podcasts.
Commonsense Media offers 25 family-friendly options.
18. Ask Alexa to tell you a joke.
She will do it in different voices too.
19. Ask Alexa to do a MadLib.
20. Start family reading time.
Everyone snuggle up with a book or a pile of pictures books and quietly read.
21. Pick a classic and read it aloud to your kid(s).
Charlotte’s Web, Harry Potter, The Shining. Whatever.
22. Dig out the cards.
Games like Uno, Old Maid, Go Fish, and solitaire can keep life simple.
23. Play board games.
We tend to flip tables over here, but maybe Monopoly is different in your house.
24. Teach your children how to play poker.
This is a skill that will serve them well for years to come.
25. Bake all the treats.
26. Perform blind taste tests.
Grab random snacks from the cupboard, ask your kids to close their eyes and hand them “mystery” foods to taste. Think marshmallows, lemon slices, chocolate chips, and stale pretzels. The anticipation is what makes it fun.
27. Make a fort.
Use blankets, chairs, boxes, tables. And try to let go of the fact that your house will be a disaster.
28. Turn off the lights, grab flashlights, and have fun with shadow play.
29. Use all of the blocks, Legos, or magna-tiles in one giant structure.
30. Make a pillow/stuffy/blanket pile and jump into them.
31. Write a book and illustrate it.
32. Play video games.
33. Do yoga.
Cosmic Kids is a great online source for little ones. Kids are led through adventures with storytelling and yoga poses.
34. Move with GoNoodle.
The website offers dances and singalongs and lots of indoor activities to keep your kids active.
35. Go for a walk.
36. Pick up trash while on a walk.
37. Alphabetize books.
38. Color-code book shelves.
Can you turn your bookshelf into a rainbow?
39. Clean all the things.
My six-year-old took wipes to all of the door knobs the other day, and it was glorious.
40. Wash your hands. Again.
41. Do yard work.
I am sure there are sticks, leaves, and dog poop to clean up after a long winter.
42. Paint rocks.
You get bonus points if you leave them outside in places where others can find.
43. Kick a ball around the yard.
44. Start a family soccer game.
45. Play tag.
46. Draw with chalk art in the driveway.
47. Ride bikes.
48. Shoot hoops.
49. Wash your hands. Yes, again.
50. Skype or FaceTime with friends and loved ones.
51. Have virtual playdates.
52. Write and send letters and pictures to friends and loved ones.
53. Write and send thank-you notes.
Send them to nurses and doctors, firefighters, police officers, postal workers, and trash collectors to thank them for the extra work they are doing right now.
54. Listen to audio books.
Commonsense Media has great suggestions for meditation apps for kids.
56. Do a puzzle. Or all of them.
My kids love to cover floors with all of the puzzles they can find in the house.
57. Clean the car inside and out.
58. Take a bubble bath.
59. Take a bath while wearing a bathing suit and call it a “beach day.”
60. Clean out toy bins.
Discard or donate toys that are broken or no longer being used.
61. Make homemade play dough.
62. Make a movie with action figures.
63. Check out this list of free online education sources to help you homeschool.
64. Listen to Josh Gad read bedtime stories.
Good luck, friends. And remember: we don’t need to entertain our kids all of the time. Some days will be spent on screens and some will be spent in forts with books and imaginary worlds. You are not a good or bad parent based on performing any of these activities; they are simply suggestions for strange, and sometimes lonely, times.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.